Norfolk, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of underdogs will hook horns in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament finals on Saturday, as the fifth- seeded Delaware State Hornets and sixth-seeded Hampton Pirates meet at Norfolk Scope Arena.
Neither program was expected to reach the championship round but proved the experts wrong by toppling the conference's top two teams in the semifinals.
Now, the two will be playing for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Delaware State's lone MEAC tourney title was in 2005, while Hampton, which has a sub-.500 record at 15-17, has won four crowns, the last coming in 2011. The Hornets won both regular-season meetings this season.
Delaware State knocked off top-seeded North Carolina Central, 63-57, on Friday despite trailing by 13 early in the second half. Amere May spearheaded the comeback by scoring 24 of his 27 points after the break.
May hit two free throws to give the Hornets the lead inside the final two minutes, then went 6-of-6 from the line over the final 62 seconds to secure the upset and snap NC Central's 35-game conference winning streak.
Delaware State won despite being without starting point guard Kendal Williams, who injured his ankle in the first round of the tourney.
May is the most important player on the Hornets' roster, as they would be extremely limited on offense without his 20.8 ppg. He went 9-of-10 from the foul line on Friday and is an 81.6 percent shooter from the charity stripe on the season. Kendall Gray is averaging 12.0 ppg and 12.2 rpg on the season, while Tyshawn Bell, who poured in 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds against NC Central, is logging 11.2 ppg.
In Friday's other upset, Hampton held on for a 75-64 win over second-seeded Norfolk State. The Pirates led by three at halftime, scored the first 10 points of the second half and stayed in front the rest of the way.
Quinton Chievous poured in a season-high 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, while Reginald Johnson added 13 points for the victors, who shot a robust 32- of-38 from the foul line.
It was the fifth double-double of the season for Chievous, who is one of four double-digit scorers for Hampton at 10.3 ppg. Deron Powers is also logging 10.3 ppg to go along with a team-high 3.8 apg. Dwight Meikle leads the squad in both scoring (13.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg), while Johnson is plugging in 11.6 ppg for the squad.